1) What is ‘Culture’: According to UNESCO, culture is usually “interpreted as art. We denote it by action, behaviour and attitudes considered useful for the interests of society or of a certain social group. Material Culture technology, art forms, architecture, material goods and equipments used in daily life, in household, agriculture, literary and intellectual Non material traditions, beliefs, myths, legends. The basic elements of culture are values, norms, symbols (e.g. language), folklore, religions and ideas.
2) Dimensions Culture has three dimensions. First, it is a normative system, by which there is social control in the form of sanctions, Secondly, there is the expressive system; music, dance, art, literature Thirdly, it is a system of ideas which enables members of a society to interpret the world meaningfully.
3) INDIAN VALUES: The diversity of Indian society and culture is stupendous, “caste” system. Status moral value implied tolerance “holistic” aspect. The families were joint; the spiritual emphasis Dharma was an important way of life.
4) CULTURAL CONTINUITY: India, in common with China, shows a remarkable cultural continuity from the very ancient times to the present day. Indeed, if Indian culture has flowed over so many centuries, vibrant and alive,
(b) CIVILISATION: Indus valley civilization, though it extended far beyond the limits of that valley. Vedic culture evolved in the north west. The epic traditions later to crystallize into Mahabharatha and Ramayana taking the shape.
(c) Religion : There are four religions which trace their origin to the indian sub continent – Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Religious beliefs and systems that ‘arrived’ from outside are islam and Christianity, Zaroastrianism, Judaism and Baha’i. Six systems of Hindu philosophy.
(d) Guptas : Great sculpture was produced, fine literature was written, mural painting reached the heights of Ajanta, and knowledge grew.
(e) Rajput courts became centres of cultural life new development in art, poetry and drama.
(f) South India which experienced political and cultural vigour the pallavas, Cholas and pandyas spread, Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva putting forward their theories based on the Upanishads, It was under the Mughals and especially under Akbar that a true Indo-Islamic synthesis Architecture In painting
(g) Western influence scientific attitude of mind and practical efficiency. To the British, India was never a home; their racial arrogance and aloofness prevented Indians from appreciating the basic qualities of the English character, (h) After independence.
TOPIC-2 FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Fairs and festivals are an integral part of Indian life. The diversity of religions and communities ensures a variety of ‘holy’ days which are celebrated all over the land.
2) (a) Hindu festivals range over the entire years;
(b) In mid-January comes Sankrant marking the change of season when the sun is supposed to move into its northern home. A day before shankrant comes Lohri, Which is specially celebrated by Punjabis.
(c) Coinciding with Sankrant is the Tamil festival of Pongal. The day before Pongal is celebrated as Bogi dedicated to lord Indra. The day after pongal is dedicated to Cows.
(d) In January-February, on the fifth day of Magh actually, comes Vasant panchami which is celebrated by Bengalis, in honour of Goddess Saraswati.
(e) (January-February) is celebrated Mahasivaratri. Day of fasting and Prayers dedicated to Lord Shiva.
(f) In Phalgun (sometime in March) comes the festival of colours, Holi.
(g) In the month of Chaitra (March-April) Ramanavami is celebrated in temples.
(h) Ugadi is the Telugu New Year Baisakhi (April 13). Tamil New Year also begins at this time. Assamese celebrate their New Year, Goru and Rangoli Bihu. In Punjabi the year starts in the first of Vaisakh. At the same time march-13 the Nava Varsha Of Bengalis begins. And tamil newyear begins in April 14. People of Kerala celebrate Vishu.
(i) In May the Pooram festival is held at Trichur, kerala. It’s a festival of Parade of decorated elephants.
(j) In June-July, Lord Jagannath’s stately temple chariot goes in procession from the temple at puri. The Rath Yatra, it celebrates Krishna’s journey to Mathura to visit his Aunt.
(k) Naga panchami comes sometime in July-August. Dedicated to Ananta, the snake on whose coils Vishnu rests.
(l) On the full-moon day of Shravan comes Raksha Bandhan. Symbolizes the bond between sisters and Brothers.
(m) Krishna’s birth-Janmashtami – Eighth day of the month Shravan.
(n) Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the fourth day of Shukla paksha in the month of Bhadon (August-September).
(o) Also in August-September comes Onam, a harvest festival of Kerala. Gives colorful welcome to King Mahabhali of Ancient Kerala. Onum is famous for Aranmula snake boat race.
(p) Dussehra is a festival of ten days celebrated all over Indiain Aswin (September-October).In North india it celebrates Rama’s victory over ravana. The Bengalis celebrate the festival as Durga Puja. Gujaratis celebrate it as Navaratra (festival of nine nights). In the south it is Navaratri.
(q) In October-November, that is in Aswin/Lartik, comes the popular festival of Diwali (or Deepawali) which falls on a New Moon or Amavasya. Diwali is the new year of Jains. In south it commomerates Krishna’s victory over Narakhasura.
(r) Kartikai is a festival of lights held on kartik poornima in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and parts of Kerala. It is celebrated in honor of the appearance of Shiva at the birth of the Universe.
(s) The Assamese observe three Bihus or festivals. The Bohag Bihu, the Magh Bihu and the Kati Bihu coincide with the spring, winter and autumn seasons respectively. The Bohag Bihu, the Spring New Year marks the beginning of agricultural operations. The Magh Bihu is a harvest festival celebrated in winter. The Kati Bihu held in October-November involves the worship of the tulsi plant in the house courtyard.
3) Festivals of Muslims: The festivals and religious day of the Muslims are not fixed but fall about 11 days earlier each year.
3(a) Id-ul-Fitr is a happy and festive occasion. It comes at the end of the Islamic month of Ramzan. Id-ul-Zuha (also called Id-ul-Azha or Bakr-Id) is another occasion of rejoicing.
3(b) Muharram comes on the tenth day of the first Islamic month. It commemorates a tragedy in the history of Islam, Besides these occasions, there are several shrines where the urs or death anniversaries of saints are held. These, for example the urs at the tomb of khwaja Muinuddin Chisti at Ajmer, attract thousand of pilgrims, Muslim and Hindu.
4) Festivals of Christians:
4(a) Easter is a solemn occasion. It celebrates the return to life of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion.
4(b) Good Friday: Observes death of Jesus on cross. It is a day of Mourning.
4(c) Christmas is a festival of joy as it celebrates the birth or nativity of Jesus on December 25.
5. Festivals of SIKHS: The Sikhs observe the birth anniversaries of Gurpurabs of their Gurus. The birth anniversary of Guru Nanak which comes on kartik poornima is celebrated as a festival. The birth anniversary of the tenth and last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh is also celebrated as a festival. The martyrdom of some Gurus is also observed with piety.
6) Festivals of Buddhists:
6(a) Buddha Jayanti celebrated on vaisakha poornima. It commemorates the Buddha’s birth as well as his enlightenment.
6(b) At the well-known Hemes monastery in Ladakh, there is an annual festival to signify birth of Guru padmasambhava, the patron deity of the gompa (monastery).
7) Jain festival: To the Jains Mahavira Jayanthi is a day of celebration for on that day was born Mahavira, the 24th and last of the Thirthankaras.
8) Parsi festival: The most important festival for the parsis is Navroze, or New Day’ which is held at the Spring Equinox. It is a joyful celebration of the eternal New Day.
9) Festival of JEWS:
9(a) Passover is one of the most important religious festivals in the Jewish calendar.
9(b) Rosh Hashanah : istheJewish new year festival and commomerates the creation of the world. It lasts for two days.
9 (c) Hanukkah or Chanukah: it’s the jewish festival of Lights.
9(d) Sabbath, the jewish holy day every week observed, it keep its law and customs.
FAIRS IN INDIA
India has several fairs for different occasions. The most famous of these is the Kumbh Mela which is a periodical affair. The four places where the Kumbh Mela fell- Nasik, Ujjain, Hardwar and Allahabad. The mela is celebrated in each of these places every three years. The Maha kumbh mela for, At Allahabad is Prayag. [January-February]. In meeting place of Ganga, Yamuna and hidden saraswati. In January the Ganga Sagar Mela is held at Sagar, south of Kolkata where the river Hooghly joins the sea.